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Tag: drug

DEA Leaves Seized Drugs Vulnerable to Theft, Tampering, Report States

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Drug seized by the DEA are left vulnerable to theft or tampering, the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report released Thursday.

The DEA often improperly documents or tracks its seized drug, compromising evidence used in court, Govexec.com reports. 

For example, inspectors found that DEA was placing seized drugs in temporary forage for more than the maximum three days in nearly 70% of the cases examined by the IG. The DEA often fails to enter the drugs into the comprehensive tracking system.

“We believe that the longer a shipment is in transit or missing, the higher the likelihood that theft or tampering of the drug exhibit can occur,” the IG wrote.

Inspectors all found that the DEA failed to locate drug seizure documents.

“Gaps in the formal documentation of the chain of custody for drug exhibits can compromise the security of the drugs and jeopardize the government’s ability to use the evidence in court proceedings,” the IG said.

Other Stories of Interest

How Anti-Drug Message Became Ubiquitous on Arcade Games in 1980s

This message appeared on countless arcade games

This message appeared on countless arcade games

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Beginning in the late 1980s, the federal government extended its anti-drug message to arcade games.

“Winners Don’t Use Drugs” was a popular slogan that was hatched during a dinner between old friends, Inverse.com reports. 

Bob Davenport, the the FBI’s director of public affairs, met with former FBI Agent Bob Fay, who at the time was the executive director of the American Amusement Machine Association.

“We were talking about my new career and how he had this emphasis on drug awareness,” Fay told Inverse, “and I said, ‘Hey, I might be able to help you out. I’ve got thousands of video games that we could put a message on.'”

That turned into trip to FBI headquarters in Washington.

The two friends decided the best message was “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” because it was concise and snappy.

“We wanted to get it to something that was short,” Fay said, “something that you could say winners not only applied to game-playing, but also if you want to be a winner in life, you can’t use drugs.”

The message became ubiquitous on video arcades in the late ’80.s.

Did it work?

“From some of the feedback that we were getting from the video game industry and others in the drug awareness program, we felt that it was pretty successful,” Davenport said.

Other Stories of Interest

USA Today Investigation: ATF Drug Stings Targeted Minorities

By Brad Heath
USA Today
WASHINGTON — The nation’s top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not actually exist.

At least 91% of the people agents have locked up using those stings were racial or ethnic minorities, USA TODAY found after reviewing court files and prison records from across the United States. Nearly all were either black or Hispanic. That rate is far higher than among people arrested for big-city violent crimes, or for other federal robbery, drug and gun offenses.

Read Full Article

Centuries-Old Asian Drug Becomes Popular in U.S. Despite Dangers to Users

Kratom leaf

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A euphoric drug that has been used for centuries in Asia is becoming popular in the U.S., CBSLA.com reports.

The DEA is warning about dangers associated with kratom, which officials say is addictive, dangerous and legal in most of the U.S.

“It can give you a happy, euphoric feeling,” one user told CBSLA.com. “I definitely felt more energetic.”

Users compare it the high to a painkiller.

Health officials said the drug is often readily available online and at smoke shops.

An Analysis: The Illicit Prescription Drug Epidemic Just Keeps Getting Worse

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. He is the author of the book “Carving Out the Rule of Law: The History of the United States Attorney’s Office in Eastern Michigan 1815–2008″.

Ross Parker

 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com
 
The following are a few of the true stories from the cinema verite of America’s Prescription Addiction already playing in real life near you. Half of Americans received at least one prescription in the last month, and almost three billion prescriptions for 100 billion pills were dispensed last year. Both numbers are on a steady increase.

Scene #1 – In the early morning hours the “patients” are lined up out the door and around the block of the suburban Detroit clinic.  Each has a well rehearsed set of subjective symptoms that will produce a scrip for Xanax, Vicodin or another drug that they can sell on the street. Muted cheers as the doctor pulls up in his expensive European sedan, gives them a friendly wave, and then enters the side door of the office. By noon he will have completed his “treatment” of those in the line, and he will retire to the doctors’ lounge at a nearby hospital where he can check his stocks on his laptop.

Scene #2 – The federal prosecutor and case agent view the latest day’s video of a court-authorized Title III from a camera inserted into another doctor’s office, this time in the inner city. The investigation had shown that no “patients” ever entered this office. The doctor enters the office and, using the list of names and drugs given to him by his assistant, proceeds to write out dozens of prescriptions for patients he never sees. What is striking to the prosecution team is that he always puts on his starched white coat and checks his appearance in the mirror before sitting at his desk to complete his task.

Scene #3 – Fourteen year old Sally digs through her parents’ medicine cabinet before leaving the house to join her friends. She thought there was some Valium left from last week but decides to settle for a few of these OxyContins her father had left over from some back surgery. A friend would bring some alcohol to share with the group. Her parents would receive a call later that night from the hospital emergency room where she had been taken after she went into seizure at the party.

Scene #4 – Max was a good student at the state university, but this semester’s course load was a ball-buster, and his performance on final exams next week would determine whether he would keep his scholarship for the rest of the year. Fortunately he had a buddy down the hall who had been diagnosed as ADHD and who would always slide him a few Adderall to boost his concentration level.

Scene #5 – Dr. Anderson gets a call as he is leaving the house with his family to see a Friday night movie. He has to take it because it is his turn to be on call. A desperate sounding patient of the clinic where he works is in a great deal of pain from a recent surgery. She needs a prescription for a pain killer called in to the pharmacy so that she can get through the weekend. Although he knows it will mess up the movie schedule, the doctor takes the time to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database and discovers that the patient has been getting the same pain pills from two other physicians and an emergency room in the last month. He refuses the request and makes a mental note to address the issue with her regular physician.

Like most things, along with the use comes the abuse. Over one-fifth of Americans have taken prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. One-quarter of high school students have abused them, a 33% increase in the last four years. Six of the ten most popular illegal drugs used by 12th graders were originally obtained by prescription, and half of them came from mom and dad’s medicine cabinet.

The epidemic of illicit prescription drug abuse continues to gain speed.  Its use exceeds the combined use of cocaine, heroin, and all inhalants. Marijuana is the only illegal drug used more than pharmaceuticals.

Drug overdose deaths exceeded automobile accident fatalities last year, and most of these (about 24,000) involved prescription drugs, especially addictive painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

Read more »

Rise in Pill Abuse Forces New Look at U.S. Drug Fight

By DAMIEN CAVE and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
New York Times

MEXICO CITY — America’s drug problem is shifting from illicit substances like cocaine to abuse of prescription painkillers, a change that is forcing policy makers to re-examine the long and expensive strategy of trying to stop illegal drugs from entering the United States.

Related

This rethinking extends beyond the United States, where policy makers are debating how to better reduce demand for painkillers. The effects would also be felt here and in Central America: With the drug wars in Mexico inflaming violence, some argue that the money now used for interdiction could be better spent building up the institutions — especially courts and prosecutors’ offices — that would lead to long-term stability in Mexico and elsewhere.

To read the full story click here.

Feds Bust Louisiana Sheriff in Drug Operation

Sheriff "Bodie" Little

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Louisiana sheriff was busted Tuesday by the feds in a drug trafficking operation, the Shreveport Times reported.

Winn Parish Sheriff Albert “Bodie” Little was among 11 people busted, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced Tuesday in a news release.

The paper reported that Little appeared in court Tuesday in casual clothes and shackles. He was being detained pending a Thursday detention hearing.

Little was elected in 2008. The paper reported that he has been the target of a state Attorney General probe into allegations that he used inmates to do maintenance at his home and of falsifying public records.

13 States Ask Justice Dept. to Help Find Execution Drug


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — States around the country are turning to the Justice Department for help in locating an execution drug, the Associated Press reports.

AP reported that 13 states signed a letter sent to the Justice Department asking for help scoring sodium thiopental after the only U.S. manufacturer stopped producing it and the overseas supplies became scarce.

The states that signed the letter included: Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Justice Department spokeswoman Alisa Finelli told AP that the agency is reviewing the letter.